How to Identify Hidden Dyslexia

Stealth dyslexia is a lesser known form of dyslexia that is hidden dyslexia.  Individuals with stealth dyslexia are highly intelligent and compensate for their dyslexia. They learn to rely upon their outstanding visual memory, intuition, and ability to use the book’s context to bypass their reading weaknesses. Stealth dyslexia often goes undetected until fourth grade or later.

Your child may have stealth dyslexia if he or she is very smart and can read but does not enjoy reading. Many of these children don’t read for pleasure.  Below are warning signs of stealth dyslexia and be concerned if you identify three or more when considering your child.

  • Underachievement relative to intelligence
  • Inattention or apparent carelessness
  • Strong oral expression but weaker written expression
  • Weak at sounding out unfamiliar words
  • Slower oral reading but stronger silent reading
  • Difficulty with spelling in everyday writing (not on tests)
  • Messy penmanship
  • Excessive worry
  • Does not enjoy reading

Some people might dismiss your concerns and instead say your child is careless, not trying hard enough, or is an underachiever.  School staff may say that your child is too smart to have a reading disability. The school staff may also tell you your child is not failing enough to have a learning disability.  Some children are considered 2e or twice exceptional having giftedness and a learning disability.  You need an evaluation to understand if it’s actually stealth dyslexia or something else so that your child is not punished for something they can’t help.

The above warning signs of stealth dyslexia are often in stark contrast to the gifts where these children excel.  Children with stealth dyslexia are often great Lego builders or Roblox and Minecraft designers because they have great visual-spatial abilities and strong 3D mental rotation.  These children see the big picture.  They have language strengths with communication and an extensive vocabulary.  Children with stealth dyslexia are often interesting to talk to and can carry on a good conversation because of their strong critical thinking and general knowledge. You can learn more about hidden or stealth dyslexia in Dr. Eide’s book The Dyslexia Advantage.

Call (561) 625 4125 to discuss your child.